Stop work from ruining your next vacation

John Anderson

A “guilt free” vacation! That’s what I want/need/crave… Let’s pack a bag, and get away. I almost don’t care where and for how long, just soon or now!

Oh, by the way, Independence Day is coming up. This means we are in the thick of the traditional American vacation season, and chances are you owe it to yourself to take a break. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, the average time worked by full-time employees has increased to approximately 47 hours a week – or nearly a full extra eight-hour day.

So let’s assume you’ve decided a vacation could be fun and convince yourself you will do it. Next, of course, comes deciding where, when and for how long (do you dare?). Before you pack your laptop or change your mind altogether, here are a few tips on how to make your next getaway “guilt free.”

Don’t be afraid to delegate. Assign responsibilities to someone you can rely on to handle things. This should be someone you trust. Once you identify this person, it will make departing much easier.

Make a list. Before you leave, type or write down a list of urgent and important work-related tasks. Share and compare your list with your colleague(s) to avoid getting that “I think I’m forgetting something” feeling.

Break the routine. Put the phone on mute or turn it off for a few hours, maybe a day or two. Stop the data avalanche! But remember, you can check your messages here and there. Don’t be too hard on yourself; it’s always your choice!

Set up auto-replies for email and text message: “Driving, will respond to emails at 4:30 p.m. daily or Tuesday afternoon.” Or just forward email, texts and calls to an assistant. They can tell your important audience that you are out of town.

Don’t question your decision to leave. You might think you are irreplaceable or that taking a break will hurt the bottom line, but typically it’s quite the opposite. Experts suggest that “turning off” is good for your career; a proper work/play balance will leave you feeling more energized and focused, which leads to new ideas. Don’t forget that.

There that wasn’t so hard, was it? Now delegate, communicate, request, demand, promise and negotiate. Whatever! You’ve got the time blocked out. You’re free to go. Now where will you go? Quick, call your travel agent buddy, go online or jump in the car and drive, drive, drive.

Our life-partners often remind us of how important it is to take time to “smell the roses;” to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. You’ve earned it, and now it’s time for a “guilt free” vacation.

This edition of Tip of the Week was written by John E. Anderson, president of Longview-based Be Cause Business Resources Inc. The company provides management consulting, coaching and facilitation with a focus on strategic exit planning for $1 million firms. He can be reached at 360.200.5740.

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